Neil Lennon hopeful of a ‘great European night’ as Celtic host Lazio

Neil Lennon stressed the magnitude of Lazio’s visit to Celtic Park on Thursday night as he looks to build on early Europa League encouragement.

The Scottish champions have four points from their opening two Group E games against Rennes and Cluj.

Lennon, whose side are fresh from a 6-0 win over Ross County on Saturday which took them top of the Ladbrokes Premiership, is hoping to add to that tally against the Serie A side whom he believes, like Celtic,  are a big name in European football.

He said: “The anticipation is building for this game and it’s hopefully going to be one of those great European nights at Celtic Park.

“The performance at the weekend was as complete as I’ve had in terms of attacking and defending and all-round control of the game.

“The players should take a lot from that. We know this is a different animal in terms of quality.

“It’s almost like a Champions League game really with the size of the two clubs and the prestige that the two teams have.

“We’re very much looking forward to it and it’s a great game for our players to gain more vital European experience.

“We’ve done well home and away this season, which has delighted me.

“We followed up the Rennes draw with a good performance against Cluj. We have players with European, Premier League and international experience.

“We’d love to win the game tomorrow night. That would put us in a very strong position and we’d love to qualify from the group.

“We’re going to have to play as well, if not better, than we have done in the first two games.”

Midfielder Ryan Christie, available in the midst of a two-game domestic ban, noted the quality of opposition.

The former Inverness player said:  “Lazio will be one of the best oppositions we’ve come up against this season, but we’re not shying away from it.

“We’re very positive going into it and all the players are looking forward to it.

“These are the kind of games you sign for Celtic for. We’re looking forward to having all the fans behind us and taking the game to Lazio.”